Gayle King breaks down the destruction of Black generational wealth

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To mark the hundredth anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, which saw a white mob killing hundreds of Black residents and destroying Black-owned property and businesses in Greenwood, Oklahoma, journalist Gayle King is set to present a new programme exploring the devastating event — and the economic ripple effects caused by the destruction of an area known as “Black Wall Street.”

“The problem is no-one ever paid for the crime,” King explains to Stephen Colbert in the Late Show clip above. “There is not Black generational wealth passed on in families. It’s those kind of stories, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, why there is so much controversy about not having Black generational wealth.”

King says that a hotel worth $100,000 at that time could have been worth $100 million today.

“Who knows what that business could have been? Who knows what the chain could have been? But none of that money was passed on to Black family members.”

King’s upcoming CBS documentary, Tulsa 1921: An American Tragedy, features conversations with survivors and their stories, and explores the question of how the economic harm caused in 1921 could ever be put right today. It airs Monday 31 May on CBS.

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